Vocabulary. It is for many of us a mark of intelligence and as such, we strive to use a diverse array of words.

It is commendable. I, for one, love words and appreciate hearing and adopting new words to my personal lexicon — I am not alone in this. I do think that in our zeal to adopt a new word, we sometimes neglect one simple step. That is, to fully define the word as we integrate it into our speech.

This week has been epic for wrong word usage in media I read or listen to all the time. Specifically, the use of word or words as if they mean something else. Most of these are honest mistakes and often you can get to the word they meant, but by then the damage is done. A little of that writer or speaker’s expertise is diminished. Not ideal.

Usually, I talk about habits we should disrupt: Today, I’d like you to adopt a new one (or two). Define interesting words for yourself so that they enter your lexicon correctly. Also, when you are tempted to reach for a word you do not usually use, be sure to define it first.

Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.